It appears the Jets might believe in Christian Hackenberg after all

The #FreeHack hashtags would’ve been out in full force if the New York Jets drafted a quarterback in the first round.

That would’ve been after a year in which the Jets used a second-round pick on former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg only to essentially redshirt him his rookie season. The Jets were reluctant to even play Hackenberg in the PRESEASON.

But this weekend showed that the Jets might actually be ready to take the kid gloves off and see what they have in Hackenberg.

The Jets didn’t wind up drafting a quarterback in the first round. In fact, they didn’t wind up drafting a quarterback at all.

That means the only quarterbacks signed to the Jets roster are 37-year-old Josh McCown, former fourth-round pick Bryce Petty and Hackenberg. Barring a surprising move to acquire Kirk Cousins or something of that nature, it appears that’s the quarterback picture for the Jets moving forward.

RELATED: Looking back at an interesting final day of the NFL draft for the B1G

Does that mean that Hackenberg will be the opening day starter? Not necessarily. In all likelihood, that’ll be McCown.

But this weekend was certainly good news for Hackenberg’s future in New York, which looked murky at best. At the very least, he won’t get bumped down the depth chart or passed over by a younger quarterback with even more potential.

Keep in mind that the former B1G Freshman of the Year just turned 22 years old. Three years ago, he was projected as the No. 1 overall pick. The Jets drafted Hackenberg because the foundation was there, and they believed they could kick his bad habits with the right coaching.

While nothing the Jets did with Hackenberg in 2016 showed his development publicly — he was inactive for the first 15 games — the team wouldn’t have held pat if they already ruled him out as the quarterback of the future.

Maybe, just maybe we’ll get to see a new and improved Hackenberg in 2017 and beyond.

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Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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